East Bengal suffered another blow to their title bid as they played out a 2-2 draw against Mumbai FC in an I-League match played in Salt Lake Stadium on Wednesday.
The team conceded a soft goal in the 87th minute to give up the lead and drop two invaluable points. The coach claimed that the team failed to cope up in the dying minutes due to fatigue.
"The second goal we allowed them to score. There was no cover for Abhishek (Das) on the right side and all these things happened. What can I say? It's quite difficult to play. We need break, we need rest. The players are burned out, you can see. They cannot cope up. The players are finished,” said a disappointed Armando Colaco.
"We were allowing him (Ashutosh Mehta) to come and then with his sudden burst, the players were unable to catch him," he further added.
Colaco had decided to drop Ryuji Sueoka following the Japanese player expressing his displeasure over being substituted in the previous game. However the midfielder scored two goals after coming in the second half to prove his class.
The East Bengal coach stressed that he wanted to give Suoeka a lesson and the performance bore testament to his brilliance.
"I will not say it was a tactical change. I just wanted to make him realize that everybody makes mistakes on the field and nobody does it deliberately. Just to give him the sense of realization, I dropped him to the bench and then he also proved that he is a great player by scoring two goals," he remarked.
Colaco also heaped praise on Yusif Yakubu following the veteran's wonder-goal from 50 yards.
"The first goal of Sueoka was a world class strike. Even the first goal of Yakubu was world class. I have seen Ulganathan, Balaram score such goals. He has great commitment. I admire him. Players who come to India must be like him. Every coach tells his goalkeeper to move up when the ball moves up. Yakubu watched that and used his brain to take a shot," he mentioned.
Gurwinder Singh was seen warming up before the final 15 minutes and on being asked whether he wanted to shut shop after having taken the lead, Colaco explained, “Arnab (Mondal) was limping, so I told Gurwinder to warm up. There was no plan to put an extra defender. I believe that attack is the best form of defense and I stuck to that. When the going is good, everything is fine. When the going gets tough, every move is questioned. Anything can happen in a game.”
Colaco stated that his side are still in it with a chance to win the I-League.
"It's not over yet. It's tough for everybody. Our mission is to finish in the top three of the competition," he concluded.